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Structure–property relations for balsa wood as a function of density: modelling approach

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

In order to find an alternative core material to balsa wood in composite sandwich structures, it is important to understand balsa’s elastic properties in relation to its complex microstructural organisation. In the present work, experimental data on the elastic constants and microstructural features of balsa wood were collected for different porosities (densities) and processed into structure–property relations. An inverse problem was solved to predict variation of the cell wall properties with density, such that the collected experimental structure–property relations were satisfied. The Young’s modulus of the cell wall material in the longitudinal direction was found to increase with balsa’s density, which is consistent with the knowledge that the cell wall material stiffens during tree maturation. The value reported in the literature falls in the middle of the predicted range. The proposed micromechanical model also accurately calculated elastic properties of balsa wood at the mesolevel including longitudinal, radial, and tangential directions. The model took into account the presence of ray cells. It was shown that the addition of 15% of rays increased the radial Young’s modulus up to 4 times with only slight decrease in the longitudinal modulus.
Journal: Archive of Applied Mechanics
ISSN: 0939-1533
Issue: 6
Volume: 84
Pages: 789 - 805
Publication year:2014
Keywords:Classical physics